Spending time in First Hill is what we imagine being an extra on Grey’s Anatomy might be like. Everywhere you turn, there are people walking around in scrubs, and you might be one of them. This makes sense, because a bunch of the city’s hospitals are located here. And with such a small area full of medical professionals working long shifts, nine-to-fivers escaping downtown for a bit, and the occasional tourist, it’s important to know where to find good food. Otherwise you might find yourself at Subway, Jimmy John’s, or Potbelly (the sad sub trifecta). We’re here to tell you that there’s so much more to the First Hill food scene than mass-produced lunch meat.
This neighborhood has an extreme deficit of places where you can party. But Primo’s kind-of-fancy dining room works for a lot of celebratory situations like a birthday dinner, a low-key date, or a Happy Hour with cocktails after a long day at work. There’s just something about drinking a mule under a crystal chandelier while eating a handful of mozzarella sticks that gets you in the mood to party. Food here ranges from wings and stromboli to pies containing things like fontina and truffle oil.
Sushi Kanpai is a casual Japanese spot in the lobby of a high-rise apartment complex, which is kind of weird. If you have any friends that live there, they’ll tell you that their entire mailroom smells like sticky rice and nori. Fragrant mailroom aside, this is a pretty great place for sushi. The rolls are delicious, the steamed gyoza is always necessary, and the prices are reasonable.
206 Burger Company is the best burger spot that nobody’s talking about. Not only are the classics excellent here, but the milkshakes are perfect (get the oreo), the fries strike the ideal balance between crispy and floppy, and the special sauce is kinda smoky. There are also some Indian-leaning items you probably didn’t see coming (like the masala-spiced chicken sandwich) but are incredibly tasty. We hope you’re a Seattle sports fan, because you can’t really escape the explosion of local team memorabilia in here. Go Hawks.
George’s is an Eastern-European grocery store where you can buy things like Hungarian paprika and Lithuanian cookies called “Funny Mushrooms.” It’s also a deli that makes some delicious sandwiches to-go. We’re big fans of the reuben as well as the grilled sausage sandwich that’s made with Polish links that are smoked in-house. Just be equipped with an entire Party City aisle worth of napkins and a Tide To-Go pen because you will inevitably come into contact with some mustard and kraut.
The pizzas here are huge and heavy on the red sauce in a good way, but if you’re only going to order one pie - make it the white pizza with globs of ricotta. They don’t sell slices, but will do a personal pizza if you stop by for a solo lunch. Regardless, you should probably end things with a cannoli. You don’t leave an Italian family’s house without a cannoli.
We like popping into Sugar for a quick coffee and pastry in the morning or a baguette sandwich for lunch. You’re in good hands with anything from the display case here, but don’t be afraid of the bacon chocolate chip cookie - the salt and pepper on top really works.
Not to be confused with the Pike Place spot everyone obsesses over, Piroshki on Madison is a tiny Russian bakery with pastries that come filled with things like potato and cabbage or beef and cheese But you’re a fool if you don’t get the corned beef, cheese, and mushroom piroshki. Follow it with any kind of cake.